South Asian policewoman follows in her grandfather's footsteps
The new recruit says graduating as a Hong Kong police constable is a dream come true
When the first South Asian woman to be recruited as a police officer since the handover took to the streets last week she was continuing a proud family tradition.
Heina Rizwan Mohammad is a police constable in Yuen Long, a district with a significant ethnic minority population, and is following in the footsteps of her grandfather who walked the beat more than 30 years ago.
"My grandfather, Qamarrana, was a police officer for over 20 years before the handover. My grandfather has lived here for over 50 years and retired from the force in 1990. It's because of my grandfather that I wanted to join the force," she said.
Mohammad, 22, is the third generation of her family living in Hong Kong, and they have always lived in Tin Shui Wai in Yuen Long district. She reads, writes and speaks Cantonese and joining the police has been her goal since she was a child.
"This has always been my dream. From when I was in primary six I've always wanted to work for the police so I'm very happy that I've made my dream come true," she said.
"I always thought that I could do it. I'm nervous as I'm not sure what is going to happen next. There will be different situations and I'm not sure how I will handle them. But as I learn more and get more experience everything will be fine."
Only time will tell if Mohammad will be respected within the force. Her recruitment is symbolic but that does not mean she will be embraced with open arms by the local community. However, she is confident of a smooth start.
"Before 1997 there were plenty of Pakistani and Indian police officers working in Hong Kong, so I don't see it being a problem. There were a lot back then and it won't make a difference now," she said. "There's no reason why I shouldn't be accepted. If they have the same focus and interest then there's no reason why others from ethnic backgrounds cannot join as well."
Her advice to others from ethnic backgrounds looking to join the force is to learn Chinese, read papers to keep up with local events and exercise to be physically fit. Mohammad's future plan is to study policing and law with the Open University.